Nearly 500 Honda associates arrived in Columbus and Marysville, Ohio this week to participate in the company's NH-Circle World Bloc Convention. With the theme "Turning Dreams Into Action," the associates from 17 countries are here to celebrate their winning improvement ideas, and share in team building and cultural activities.
Honda's "NH-Circle" program is a quality circle program where associates volunteer their time to identify, analyze and solve work-related problems and present their solutions to management in order to improve the performance of the organization.
The World Bloc NH-Circle Convention is held every two years in one of Honda's six global regions. Participants have arrived this week from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Thailand, United Kingdom, the United States and Vietnam.
Honda's success results from the engagement and skills of its associates, who have direct responsibility to develop, manufacture and sell products with the highest quality and value. Collectively, the associates participating in the World Bloc Convention represent a global team considered to be the company's foundation.
"These three days of NH-Circle activities are designed to celebrate the exchange of ideas as associates spend time networking with other teams from around the world," said Rick Schostek, senior vice president at Honda of America Mfg. "This is a very special opportunity for these associates, who have traveled here from faraway places to meet with their counterparts from other lands and see some sites in central Ohio."
Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman welcomed the visiting associates to Columbus during the opening ceremonies held Tuesday at the Hyatt Regency Columbus. The teams were recognized by country and region as they entered the hall, and were greeted by Honda leadership from Japan and the company's six global operating regions.
Convening the global convention in Ohio is noteworthy as Honda celebrates 30 years of auto production in America, which started at the Marysville Auto Plant on Nov. 1, 1982. The Marysville plant was Honda's first automobile production facility outside of Japan and made Honda the first Japanese automaker to build cars in America. The success of Honda's manufacturing and product development operations in North America now serve as a model for Honda operations in other regions throughout the world.
"During more than 30 years in Ohio, we have seen the profound benefits that Honda operations have had on the lives of people here in our local communities," Schostek said. "With all of the Honda associates here today, we can also see that Honda's approach to associate involvement is shared all over the world, and that Honda also is having a profound impact on communities in other regions."
Honda sold nearly 25 million products in 2011 through its three product lines that include automobiles, motorcycles, and power equipment products such as generators and lawn mowers. Today, Honda operates automobile plants in more than 16 countries. When including the production of motorcycles and power products, Honda has manufacturing operations in more than 26 countries.
During the day on Tuesday and Wednesday, the teams are traveling to Honda's operations in Marysville to present their winning ideas to their peers and Honda leadership. They also are participating in teambuilding activities and taking time to see auto production in the Marysville Auto Plant.
While in Columbus, the visitors are participating in cultural activities at the Hyatt and Columbus Convention Center during evenings and on Thursday. Evening activities included opportunities to visit the holiday "WildLights" attraction at the Columbus Zoo, and to go shopping in Columbus.
About Honda in North America
Honda established operations in America in 1959, and now employs more than 26,000 associates in its U.S. sales, R&D and manufacturing operations with a capital investment of more than $12.5 billion.
Based on its longstanding commitment to "build products close to the customer" Honda operates 14 major manufacturing facilities in North America, producing a wide range of Honda and Acura automobiles, automobile engines and transmissions, Honda all-terrain vehicles, and power equipment products such as lawn mowers, mini-tillers and general purpose engines, using domestic and globally sourced parts.
Seven Honda auto plants in the region, including four in the U.S., have the capacity to produce 1.63 million automobiles each year. In 2011, 85 percent of the Honda and Acura automobiles sold in the U.S. were produced in North America. This will increase to 1.92 million vehicles per year in 2014, when the sales percentage of locally produced automobiles is expected to rise to more than 90 percent.
Honda operates major research and development centers in the U.S. that fully design, develop and engineer many of the products Honda produces in North America.
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